Boca Raton, FL - Florida Atlantic University men’s tennis player Will Neuner got his biggest lesson off the court.
The sophomore from Pensacola, Fla. watched several of the world’s best professional players while attending matches at the French Open’s famous red clay courts during a two-week visit to Paris this summer.
“This was the second or third time that I have seen professional tennis in person, but the first time at the Grand Slam level,” said Neuner. “They let the general public get close to the action on some of the outside courts. I was living every tennis player’s dream.”
Neuner had the opportunity to watch Roger Federer, the world’s No. 1 player and 17-time Grand Slam winner (pictured below in black); recent U.S. Open Champion Andy Murray, and top-ten players David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.
So, what did the Owls’ player learn from the experience?
“I really appreciated the professional players’ footwork in preparing for a particular shot,” said Neuner. “They are always in the right position. The top players are separated by their consistency throughout a match. There rarely is a big drop in intensity.”
The sophomore hopes to carry those lessons onto the court for the 2012-13 season. He won 12 singles matches in his first season at FAU, and teamed with senior Taylor Albrecht to earn All-Sun Belt Conference honors in doubles. The duo was ranked 10th last season in the competitive Southeast region by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
“I’m looking to get better each day. Learning from my mistakes will be the key in my success as a singles player,” said Neuner.
Albrecht appreciates what his doubles teammate brings to their matches, stating: “Will is a grinder out on the court. He finds ways to pull out a set and win the match. He’s a great teammate. He makes you work extremely hard to win each point.”
Head Coach Brandon Stokes also noted Neuner’s competitive spirit. “Will is a fiery competitor and very talented player. His ability to keep points alive makes him successful,” states the coach.
Neuner hopes to start the season where he left off last spring. He joined with Albrecht to post a 15-8 record last season, including 11 wins in No. 1 matches. The tandem won four of the last five matches. Three of the wins came over nationally ranked teams.
For 2012-13, Neuner and the program’s players are committed to improving throughout the season and performing well in the Sun Belt Conference tournament.
“We’re totally committed to winning the conference championship. That means training hard in the fall and spring to set you up for the season-ending tournament,” said Neuner. “We put together a good record last year, but we’re all striving to be more consistent and building off the last match.”